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Consul vs etcd: What are the differences?

Consul and etcd are both key-value stores that are used for service discovery and distributed configuration management. Here are the key differences between them.

  1. Data Consistency Mechanism: Consul uses a strong consistency mechanism to ensure that all nodes in the cluster have the same view of the key-value store. This is achieved through the use of a distributed consensus algorithm based on Raft protocol. In contrast, etcd uses a weaker consistency mechanism where eventual consistency is achieved through gossip-based protocol.

  2. Service Discovery Features: Consul provides rich service discovery features such as service registration, health checks, and DNS-based service discovery. It also supports service segmentation and advanced service routing capabilities. On the other hand, etcd focuses more on providing a simple and reliable distributed key-value store and does not have the same level of built-in service discovery features as Consul.

  3. Cross-Datacenter Replication: Consul has built-in support for cross-datacenter replication, allowing the key-value data to be synchronized across multiple datacenters. This feature enables the creation of globally distributed systems with Consul. In contrast, etcd does not have built-in support for cross-datacenter replication, although it can be achieved through custom implementations.

  4. Monitoring and Metrics: Consul provides a comprehensive set of monitoring and metrics capabilities, allowing users to monitor the health and performance of their Consul cluster. It also has built-in support for integrating with popular monitoring tools such as Prometheus. On the other hand, etcd does not have the same level of built-in monitoring and metrics capabilities as Consul.

  5. Consul Connect: Consul has a feature called Consul Connect, which provides a secure service-to-service communication framework. It allows services in Consul to communicate with each other securely, even across different datacenters. ETCD does not have a similar built-in feature for secure service-to-service communication.

  6. Ease of Deployment and Configuration: Consul is designed to be easy to deploy and configure, with a single binary release that includes all the necessary components. It also provides a web-based UI for managing and monitoring the Consul cluster. On the other hand, etcd requires more manual configuration and setup, and does not have a web-based UI for managing the etcd cluster.

In summary, Consul is known for its additional features like service health monitoring and multi-datacenter support, making it suitable for complex network architectures. Etcd, an open-source project primarily used by Kubernetes, focuses on simplicity and consistency, providing a reliable key-value store for distributed systems.

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Pros of Consul
Pros of etcd
  • 61
    Great service discovery infrastructure
  • 35
    Health checking
  • 29
    Distributed key-value store
  • 26
    Monitoring
  • 23
    High-availability
  • 12
    Web-UI
  • 10
    Token-based acls
  • 6
    Gossip clustering
  • 5
    Dns server
  • 4
    Not Java
  • 1
    Docker integration
  • 1
    Javascript
  • 11
    Service discovery
  • 6
    Fault tolerant key value store
  • 2
    Secure
  • 2
    Bundled with coreos
  • 1
    Consol integration
  • 1
    Privilege Access Management
  • 1
    Open Source

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What is Consul?

Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.

What is etcd?

etcd is a distributed key value store that provides a reliable way to store data across a cluster of machines. It’s open-source and available on GitHub. etcd gracefully handles master elections during network partitions and will tolerate machine failure, including the master.

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What are some alternatives to Consul and etcd?
Zookeeper
A centralized service for maintaining configuration information, naming, providing distributed synchronization, and providing group services. All of these kinds of services are used in some form or another by distributed applications.
SkyDNS
SkyDNS is a distributed service for announcement and discovery of services. It leverages Raft for high-availability and consensus, and utilizes DNS queries to discover available services. This is done by leveraging SRV records in DNS, with special meaning given to subdomains, priorities and weights (more info here: http://blog.gopheracademy.com/skydns).
Ambassador
Map services to arbitrary URLs in a single, declarative YAML file. Configure routes with CORS support, circuit breakers, timeouts, and more. Replace your Kubernetes ingress controller. Route gRPC, WebSockets, or HTTP.
Kubernetes
Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
Redis
Redis is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache, and message broker. Redis provides data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperloglogs, geospatial indexes, and streams.
See all alternatives